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Conservative Picks for the Florida Primary

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Conservative Picks for the Florida Primary

Florida definitely stands apart from other states in the South. It actually sends Conservatives to DC, to the House that is. The Republican Party is gaining a lot of strength in Florida, similar to Wisconsin. The GOP knows how to win elections in this traditional swing state. Now the predicament becomes: who will win the battle for the GOP’s soul? Conservatives are poised to make gains this primary season. Leftists are poised for setbacks to their blue wave. A successful campaign in 2018 could empower Florida to be a red state in presidential elections to come. For this reason, some tradeoffs were allowed for Conservative Picks. Rick Scott betrayed the party, but in 2016, the Floridians forgave Marco Rubio for his professional shortcomings. Perhaps, in order to remove Nelson, the Florida Conservatives need to forgive Rick Scott. There is a larger battle that Conservatives can win, among the House races that can change the state’s politics for the next decade. Florida is poised to gain at least one or two Congressional seats in the next Census. It would be beneficial, if Conservatives are accustomed to winning by this time.

Best Picks: Greg Steube, Matt Gaetz, Ross Spano
Worst Picks: Greg Buck, Brian Mast, Carlos Curbelo
Best Races: District 7, District 15, District 17
Worst Races: District 18

US Senate

A likable candidate can end Bill Nelson’s long tenure in the DC swamp. It sucks to admit it but that candidate is Governor Rick Scott. In 2016, the Republicans rationalized that Marco Rubio was the best chance to maintain the Florida Senate seat, particularly in an election they did not think they would fare as well. Nevertheless, the GOP won this race in Florida, by over 700000 votes, in a higher turnout election than Nelson’s last win in 2012. 2012 was a bad election for Republicans, losing this race by double digits. 10 points is a hefty task. Rick Scott has viability, in that he outperformed the polls in his narrow victory in 2014. This was a lower turnout election, which is worrisome, but he is an organized candidate. The biggest downside to Rick Scott is that he is not a strong Conservative. On guns, he flopped. Still, ousting a three term Senator with a Liberty Score of 0 needs to be done. If Rick Scott can do that, the Senate will be better off.

Conservative Pick: Rick Scott

District 1

Matt Gaetz is in his first term and he seems like a new addition to the Conservative movement. He has opponents, but Gaetz deserves a second term.

Conservative Pick: Matt Gaetz

District 2

Neal Dunn is a first term RINO. He is unopposed.

District 3

Ted Yoho is a somewhat decent Congressman. He has blemishes on his record but is not a RINO. He has no serious opponent.

Conservative Pick: Ted Yoho

District 4

After 1 term, John Rutherford has shown to be a RINO. He has no opponent.

District 5

Virginia Fuller is the only Republican running in this race.

District 6

Now this is an interesting race. Three challengers vie for the nomination. Fred Costello is a former state rep with a lot of local endorsements. He also appears to be the weakest candidate. John Ward comes off strong as a Conservative with an emphasis on repealing Obamacare and balancing the budget. Michael Waltz is the other strong candidate in this race. His platform also self describes him as a Constitutional Conservative, but states replacing Obamacare as a priority and nothing about reducing debt. Ward is more Conservative, but doesn’t come off as strong or likable. Democrats already have a million dollar candidate, so this race can’t be screwed up. There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that Ward would blow this seat.

Conservative Pick: John Ward

District 7

State Rep. Mike Miller and businessman Scott Sturgill face off in this primary. Mike Miller has a decent record in the Florida House. He did not cave on his protection of the 2nd Amendment when Rick Scott did. Strugill is running on a seemingly hardline fiscal platform, but there appears to be no other signs of Conservatism than that. Miller has a track record of standing up in tough times, and that can’t be ignored.

Conservative Pick: Mike Miller

District 8

Bill Posey is a solid Conservative in the House. He is unopposed.

District 9

Wayne Liebnitzki is the only Republican on the ballot.

District 10

There are no Republicans running

District 11

Daniel Webster is not quite a RINO. He is unopposed.

District 12

Gus Bilirakus is an unchallenged RINO.

District 13

Brad Sostack comes off as more of a Trump populist on his twitter. His opponent Greg Buck seemed fine until he embraced an endorsement from the Tamba Bay Times, the leftist propaganda arm repsonsible for Polifact‘s fake fact checking. Embracing Florida’s leftist rag’s approval makes Brad Sostack the pick. Their article endorsing Buck describes him as:

Brad Sostack, 36, of St. Petersburg is a first-time candidate who describes himself as a pro-Trump, fiscally conservative Republican. He is a military veteran who supports the Second Amendment, tax cuts and restrictions on abortion.

This came after they stated that Buck was soft on DACA.

Conservative Pick: Brad Sostack

District 14

There are no Republicans running in this race.

District 15

This race is wide, but the strongest candidates come down to Neil Combee and Ross Spano. Immediately Spano comes off as the more Conservative pick. Combee also has the endorsement of the Tampa Bay Times. They refer to him as a more practical and experienced candidate. This indicates that he will spend as he pleases. Spano on the other hand is a solid Conservative in the Florida House. In a desperate hour, he defended the 2nd Amendment when Republicans failed. He is embarrassed by the lack of Obamacare repeal and is strong on cutting spending.

Conservative Pick: Ross Spano

District 16

Vern Buchanan is an incumbent RINO. He is unchallenged.

District 17

Tim Rooney, thankfully isn’t running. This vacant red seat has attracted a field of candidates, but leading the pack are Julio Gonzales and Greg Steube. Both seem like decent Republican candidates. A huge separating factor, however, are the endorsements. The NRA, House Freedom Fund, and Republican Liberty Caucus have allgiven the thumbs up to Greg Steube. Meanwhile RINOs such as Marco Rubio and Conservatives such as Andy Harris, of the Freedom Caucus, have shown support for Julio Gonzales. Both would likely be above average, but Steube is less risky on policy than Gonzales.

Conservative Pick: Greg Steube

District 18

Brian Mast is already a RINO after one term. He has two opponents. Mark Freeman ran and lost in 2016. Dave Cummings comes off as the most Conservative candidate in this race. He’s compassionate about the environment without delving into regulations and strong on defending the 1st Amendment.

Conservative Pick: Dave Cummings

District 19

Francis Rooney is an unchallenged RINO.

District 20

There are no Republicans in this race.

District 21

There are no Republicans in this race.

District 22

The right candidate could flip this seat. Democrat Ted Deutch doesn’t have as large of a war chest as other incumbents, and the deficit to overcome for Republicans is only withing single digits. Three Republicans are running. The first one is Nicholas Kimaz. Kimaz comes off as a decent human being with a distaste for PC. But it seems doubtful he would reduce spending. The strongest candidate appears to be Javier Manjarres. He’s Rubio backed, along with many Floridian politicians. But his policies are basic, and his stance on illegal immigration is worrisome. Eddison Walters could also be a decent pick here. He seems like the most Conservative, but least serious. Javier is also most liekly of the three to flip the seat. This race should embrace the strongest, most serious candidate.

Conservative Pick: Javier Manjarres

District 23

This is Debbie Wassermann Schultz’s seat. Hoping that third time’s the charm is true is Joe Kaufman. Perhaps it might be if he can make Schultz seem as incompetent and corrupt as she is. Debbie’s corruption is a huge tenant of his campaign, and that is the only way a Republican can flip this seat. Kaufman would have 50,000 votes to gain and the plummeting reputation of his opponents, paired with his ballot recognition enables him to do that. Another challenger is Carlos Reyes. He has a rather populist style campaign. It doesn’t seem like he’s a super conservative guy. Lastly, there is Carla Spalding. She ran independent against Brian Mast. She employs populist language of an independent while touting support for Trump’s wall and a number of his policies. Her stances are common sense, but very vague. There is no indication she would reduce spending.

Conservative Pick: Joe Kaufman

District 24

There are no Republicans in this race.

District 25

Mario Diaz-Balart is a hardcore RINO. He is unopposed.

District 26

Carlos Curbelo is a serious RINO. He is opposed by Souraya Faas. She is definitely to the right of Curbelo and likely also right of Trump. This is probably the seat most likely to flip blue.

Conservative Pick: Souraya Faas

District 27

A lot of Republicans are running in the Miami-Dade district. This is a vacated red seat that offers a chance to upgrade. This seat is also possible for a blue flip considering Hillary won the District. However the right candidate can hold the seat. That candidate might be Maria Elvira Salazar. Her protect prosper and strengthen campaign themes feature a weak opposition to abortion as well as an emphasis on improving infrastructure. She may not be a serious conservative, but she is also seeking to replace a hardcore RINO of three decades with a Liberty Score of 29. If she does no worse and keeps the seat red, then perhaps it is worth it to mitigate and block a Blue Wave.

Conservative Pick: Maria Elvira Salazar

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Federalists

What Stacey Abrams gets right about moving forward from the Georgia election

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What Stacey Abrams gets right about moving forward from the Georgia election

Democrat Stacey Abrams possesses some pretty radical political ideologies. I completely disagree with her far-leftist rhetoric or the agenda she hoped to bring to Georgia as governor. Republican Brian Kemp is the next governor, which even Abrams admits.

But she refuses to concede that she actually lose the election. She’s clear that Kemp is the governor-elect, but she falls just short of saying that his victory is illegitimate.

That’s all political theater. Here’s what she gets right. Georgia and many states need to clean up their election practices. Laws should be passed. Other laws should be removed. Ballot access for American citizens must be protected and the process must be made as easy as possible without jeopardizing accuracy or opening the doors to fraud.

Most importantly, this must be done through a combination of the legal system and the state legislature. At no point should she or anyone else try to turn this into a federal issue.

People on both sides of the political aisle seem to be leaning towards fixing election problems at the national level. This would be a huge mistake. The states must clean their own houses. The residents of the states must be the catalyst. Keep DC out of it.

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Conspiracy Theory

Many Democrats support Mueller investigation without knowing what it’s about

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“Trump stole the election!”

Two years and two elections ago, something happened that has Democrats scratching their heads even today. Hillary Clinton lost. She wasn’t supposed to lose. She was cheated some way, somehow.

This is what they hope to be proven by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 elections. The problem is a majority of Democrats think the Russians did something that Mueller’s team isn’t even investigating because there’s absolutely no hint of a possibility that it could be true.

67% of Democrats believe “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”

Let that sink in.

Robert Mueller Poll

If you believe Russia attempted to influence the elections by using social media and other venues to spread anti-Hillary rhetoric, you’re almost certainly correct. In fact, the Mueller investigation has assumed that to be true from the beginning. The question isn’t whether or not Russia tried to influence the elections in this way. It’s whether or not Americans helped them, in particular members of the Trump campaign.

What’s not being considered is whether or not Russia tampered with vote tallies. They did not. It’s not even a consideration in Mueller’s investigation, yet two-thirds of Democrats believe it to be true.

67% of Democrats can’t wait for Mueller to prove their theories correct even though he isn’t even investigating vote tally tampering at all. It’s reminiscent of the days after Obamacare was launched when Democrats asked, “Wait, it’s not free?”

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Entertainment and Sports

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would be terrible if the Coen brothers didn’t make it

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would be terrible if the Coen brothers didnt make it

Directors often get too much credit for making movies great. That’s not the case with the Coen brothers. In their latest release, their presence in the director’s chairs and behind the writing desks took what should have been a mediocre Old West anthology and made it clever enough that most viewers will enjoy it. Others, like me, will hate it despite their presence.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a Coen brothers film made for Netflix that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is why 91% of critics reviewed it favorably on Rotten Tomatoes. But the thumbs-up/thumbs-down approach by Rotten Tomatoes makes the rating a bit misleading. Many of the “positive” reviews I read were essentially homages to the Coen brothers. There were many complaints about the six-part anthology that were followed by “… but it’s the Coen brothers, so…”

That’s the big plus in the movie. The Coens were able to tell the six stories the way only they could with such attention to detail that I almost watched it a second time even though I hated it. The critic in me detested what the movie tried to do. The fan in me loved how the Coens tried to do it.

Unfortunately, that means the only valid reason to watch it is to see the Coens do their thing. That’s enough of a reason if you’ve already seen all of their other extraordinary works. If you’ve missed any of them, I’d start there before using The Ballad of Buster Scruggs as a filler to get you through until their next masterpiece.

I normally don’t do spoilers. In fact, I make a point to not even spoil important components like mood or tone. Since this is a case where I’m not only going against the grain of other reviewers but I’m also trying to dissuade certain people from seeing it, I’ll go ahead and warn that there are spoilers ahead.

As noted already, this movie doesn’t take itself seriously. There are six completely separate stories tied together by two things: death and the historical Old West. We’ll deal with the death aspect shortly, but one good thing I can say about the movie is that I’ve never seen one capture the beauty of the period like this one. Even on a small screen, the sets are stunning. It’s a shame that such amazing cinematography will have so few see it on the big screen.

Now, let’s deal with death. It’s the overarching theme throughout, and it’s noteworthy that none of the reviews I read seemed to catch onto the specificity of the deaths. In order from first to last, the deaths are whimsical, ironic, undeserved, deserved, and tragic. This is done in a very particular order to keep the audience engaged. It’s an emotional ebb and flow that the Coens have mastered over three decades of filmmaking.

The opening story shares its title with the movie itself. It’s a live-action cartoon with stunning aspects that make the viewer laugh, marvel, and finally scratch his or her head. Buster Scruggs’ death is as quick and unexpected as the death the character dishes out throughout his story.

The second story, Near Algodones, demonstrates the inevitability of death for one who chooses a life of crime. Both times the lead character is captured and set to hang are comical and ironic, as if saying Death won’t be cheated by death. His final scene is the last real laugh we get in the movie.

As is common for the Coen brothers, there’s no attempt to ease in to a drastically changing mood. From beginning to end, Meal Ticket makes us feel melancholy and turns it up near the end of the third story. The only temporary relief is seeing an orange chicken mesmerizing a simple-minded crowd with its ability to do basic math on command, a not-so-subtle allusion to President Trump and his adoring fans.

The star of the anthology is the fourth story, All Gold Canyon, as Tom Waits delivers on multiple connections. He touches nature as both an intruder and its defender. He talks to his goal, “Mr Pocket,” like a friend about to deliver the good news of riches heading his way. The best line of the movie comes out in a dialogue between Waits and the pocket of gold when he says, “I’m old, but you’re older.” All of this combines for a deep connection we’re able to feel with his character. We may like or dislike other characters, but we actually connect with this one. Any of the stories could be fleshed out to be a standalone film, but this one would probably yield the best one.

The fifth story, The Gal Who Got Rattled, is another one that could easily expand. It made me think someone could make an interesting series about life on the Oregon Trail that followed the guides back and forth in their exciting journeys. Instead, we get a glimpse at the trail, another glimpse of irony surrounding an annoying dog that survives both of its masters, and then a fleeting glimpse of real action as Grainger Hines fearlessly takes on a group of Commanche who want his scalp and the young lady he’s protecting.

The Mortal Remains rounds out the movie. It’s the only story that doesn’t end in death, though it’s predicated by death; two of the five characters in this story are bounty hunters with the body of their most recent prey strapped to the top of the carriage they’re riding.

There are different interpretations for this segment of the movie. Some say the self proclaimed “reapers” are taking the souls of the other three passengers to their resting place. This theory lends to the apprehension and dread they demonstrate when they finally get there. Others say they simply fear that death may come to them soon, which is why they hesitate to enter the hotel. I lean towards the first interpretation. The three in the carriage with the bounty hunters/reapers died normally while the body on the roof had to be hunted down, which is why he has to be carried to his final resting place instead of walking there like the other three.

Who knows? The Coens.

The stories in this movie were accumulated over 25 years. It’s very possible that there is a much deeper underlying meaning to all of this that the Coens may or may not ever reveal. It could be personal, like their own private joke about Hollywood; watching Meal Ticket definitely lends itself to the notion that the highest level of art can’t be as popular as a counting chicken. There may be nothing to it at all. The Coens know, and unless they’re changing their style, they aren’t telling us their secrets.

An uncanny number of reviews I read noted a variation of the idea that the whole was less than the sum of the parts.

The bottom line: Lots of people loved this movie for everything the Coen brothers bring to the table. Some, like me, hated it because it’s six stories that individually could have been great but compressing them into one movie didn’t do them justice.

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